Garland was born in Amarillo, Texas, in 1942, reared in Wichita Falls, and graduated from high school there in 1961. He then attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock, graduating in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics. While attending Texas Tech, Garland was active in all aspects of student life. He was a student body officer and student council member representing the School Of Agriculture. He was also a member of the Greek social fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon and was a 2 year letterman in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association. He earned the honorable Dub Parks Memorial Award from the Texas Tech Rodeo Association in 1966 and later was inducted into the Texas Tech Rodeo Hall Of Fame in 1992. Garland pursued his rodeo career in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association until 1973 after having served the U.S. Army in the 73rd Signal Battalion in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, in 1968-1969.
Garland began sculpting as a hobby in 1970 and continued this moonlighting activity while also being actively engaged in the cattle feeding industry as a market analyst, commodity broker, and agricultural economist. In 1978, Garland took the plunge into making art full-time and has never looked back. He has lived, worked, and sculpted in California, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, etc. honing his skills. He finally established his studio and home in Lubbock in 2000, where he is happily living and sculpting on the high plains of Texas. Garland traces his direct Texas roots back 6 generations to 1835 when Texas was a Republic. “Life in Texas is good—everyone should be so lucky!”
Garland quotes H.L. Mencken:
You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.
Garland lives by the credo, “An artist sees what every man has seen and thinks what no one else has thought!”
He delights in the natural forms, emotions, and nuances of Mother Nature, which continually sources his sculptures with new, creative, and innovative ideas. He says that he is “still in awe of the ever changing subtleties of nature and the impact such changes have on the artistic inner spirit. The turn of a foot, the drop of an eyelid, the nuance of a smile—the observations of which can be the lifeblood – the heartbeat – of a new, interpretive creation of art.”
This along with his combined interests in literature, science, history, cultural heritage, social culture, and personal rodeo and cowboy experience, he is never at a loss for new thoughts and grand ideas to make his works.
Art is a journey, not a destination, and it requires a never-ending search for knowledge and understanding on the part of dedicated artists—everyday, every year, every decade—and that's the love we have for our chosen profession. I desire that my art communicates my inner-most passions, visions, observations, and experiences of the world and cultural heritage around me.
During his career of over 40 years, Garland successfully sculpted a diverse body of work. His range includes sculpting astronauts to cowboys and soldiers; doctors, preachers, and firemen to pool players, nudes, and police officers; cats and mice to grandmothers; horses and dogs to grasshoppers, dung beetles, and Texas horned lizards. However, he always returns to sculpting the human figure as his personal benchmark, which he thinks is Mother Nature's finest work. This is where Garland finds his heart and soul with personal, emotive, and artistic visions. His scale ranges from paperweights to tabletop sculptures, maquettes, portrait busts, full length life size sculptures, and monuments greater than life.
Garland also achieved two of his professional sculpting goals. The National Sculpture Society selected him in 1990 for full membership and then advanced him to status of “Fellow” in 2004 with electing him to the Board of Directors in 2009. In addition, Garland gained full membership to the National Academy of Western Art in 1990. Other sculpting honors include the Texas State Legislature honoring him as the Official Sculptor of Texas in 1995. He was also an award-winning member and past president of the Texas Cowboy Artists Association, along with having membership in the prestigious Mountain Oyster Club in Tucson and the National Academy of Western Art. In addition, Garland was the Kenan Master Sculptor in Residence in 2002 at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina. Since then, he helps upcoming artists by teaching a sculpting workshop every summer at Brookgreen Gardens.
Garland’s sculptures of note include a life-size monument of "Old Yeller" memorializing the author Fred Gipson, a life-size monument at the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center in Hutchinson, Kansas, memorializing the astronaut Gene Cernan (the last man to step off the moon), and sculptures for the Texas Medical Association in Austin, the Shannon Surgery Clinic in San Angelo, and a commemorative sculpture for the Lake City Community Museum in Lake City, South Carolina. In Lubbock, Texas, he has just unveiled a grouping of 3 life-size figures in his "First Responders" Memorial.
His historical figures include a life-size portrait of U.S. Army General Adna R. Chaffee, a life-size Revolutionary War memorial honoring General Francis Marion (The Swamp Fox) in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, as well as a sculpture on the campus of Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina. He also created a life-size WWII Infantry soldier memorial in Tyler, Texas and a life size portrait bust of Brigadier General Peter Horry in Horry County, South Carolina.
Other sculptures include a larger than life portrait bust of Mr. Preston Smith, former Governor of Texas, a life-size portrait bust of Berlin G. Myers, Honorable Mayor of Summerville, South Carolina, and a ram's head fountain for Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. He sculpted a life-size figure portrait of legendary football coach Curtis "Dike" Rose of San Jacinto High School in Houston, Texas and a one-and-a-quarter life-size monument of early 20th century settlers of the Wichita Falls area in north central Texas.